Mary McLeod Bethune Portrait
Mary McLeod Bethune Portrait, 1949

NPS / NABWH 0916

Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune used the power of education, political activism, and civil service to achieve racial and gender equality throughout the United States and the world. The first person in her family born free and the first person in her family afforded a formal education, Bethune emerged from abject poverty and oppression of the Reconstruction South to achieve greatness. Read More
Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee Portrait
Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee Portrait


Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee

In 1949 when Mary McLeod Bethune resigned from the presidency of the NCNW, she had selected Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, her personal physician and NCNW's national treasurer, to be her successor. Not surprisingly, Ferebee put increased emphasis on healthcare education. Read More
Vivian Carter Mason Portrait
Vivian Carter Mason Portrait


Vivian Carter Mason

In November 1953, the NCNW elected Vivian Carter Mason as president. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Mason had been the first black female administrator in New York City's Department of Welfare. Read More
Dorothy Irene Height Portrait
Dorothy Irene Height Portrait


Dorothy Irene Height

In 1957, Dorothy Irene Height, who had served for 20 years in various appointed positions with NCNW, became its fourth president. Height had the arduous task of leading NCNW during the early 1960s, a turbulent period of increased racial violence in the South as the Civil Rights Movement expanded. Read More
Mary McLeod Bethune and NCNW Members
Mary McLeod Bethune and NCNW Members

NPS / NABWH 0056_2

Women of the House

Since its founding in 1935, the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) has continued to serve as a beacon in the lives of African American women, their families, and communities throughout not only America, but the world. The same could also be said about the NCNW's first national headquarters, known as "Council House". From 1943 to 1966, many women came through its large, mahogany wood doors, to work tirelessly to institute change in American society. Some women, like Mrs. Bethune and her successors, were well-known, while others were not. Learn more about these amazing, barrier-breaking women below.

  • Jeanetta Welch Brown

  • Arabella Denniston

  • Sue Bailey Thurman

  • Dorothy Porter Wesley

  • Charlotte Hawkins Brown

  • Nannie Helen Burroughs

  • Mary Church Terrell

  • Sadie T.M. Alexander

  • Dovey Johnson Roundtree

  • Daisy Lampkin

  • Edith Sampson

  • First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Helen Gahagan Douglass

  • Madame Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

  • Julia West Hamilton

  • Marjorie Stewart Joyner

  • Arenia C. Mallory

  • Mame Mason Higgins

  • Venice T. Spraggs

  • Ella Moten

  • Eunice Hunton Carter

  • Ruth Caston Mueller

  • Lois Mailou Jones

Last updated: February 25, 2021

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
1318 Vermont Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20005


771-208-1593 is the main telephone number for the site, 771-208-1583 is the telephone number to the Ranger Offices

Contact Us